Mentioned as team pursuing cornerback help, the Bills will acquire it in the form of Rasul Douglas. The Packers are sending their Jaire Alexander sidekick to Buffalo, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
The Bills have lost No. 1 corner Tre’Davious White for the season, after an early-October Achilles tear, and have not seen much from 2022 first-round pick Kaiir Elam. While Elam remains on Buffalo’s roster — after trade rumors swirled last week — the team will have a veteran boundary corner en route to help the cause. The Bills are sending the Packers a third-round pick in exchange for Douglas and a fifth, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones tweets. These are each 2024 draft choices, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman.
Green Bay re-signed Douglas to a three-year, $21MM deal during last year’s free agency period, doing so after the 2021 waiver claim showed quality form to help that Packers edition earn another No. 1 seed. With the Packers (2-5) no longer near that point in their first post-Aaron Rodgers season, they will sell at the deadline. This would give Eric Stokes a starting spot to return to, but the 2021 first-round pick is on IR. Rumors of Douglas moving to safety were unfounded, and the latter opened the season as the outside starter opposite Alexander.
This will not be a difficult contract for the Bills to absorb this season. The Packers restructured Douglas’ deal previously, leaving a prorated $1.1MM in base salary coming to the Bills’ cap sheet. Douglas is due $6.25MM in nonguaranteed money next year.
On the field, Douglas will be expected to step in as a starter at some point. The Bills have used former sixth- and seventh-rounders — Christian Benford and Dane Jackson — as their primary outside cover men since White’s injury. Elam has not shown enough growth, and he will have a tougher road to late-season playing time now.
Buffalo pursued Chicago contract-year standout Jaylon Johnson, after the Bears granted him permission to seek a trade. The team made what is believed to be an aggressive effort to pry him from the Windy City, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets, but the Bears rebuffed all Johnson inquiries today. Chicago holding onto Johnson led to Buffalo finding its upgrade on another NFC North roster. The Bears were seeking a big return for Johnson; the Bills will make a midlevel move for Douglas, who is in his age-29 season.
Douglas intercepted nine passes between the 2021 and ’22 seasons, doing so despite playing different positions. After successfully replacing Alexander in 2021, Douglas moved to the slot to accommodate the highly paid defender’s return last year. That effort did not go well, but the Packers moved him back outside after Stokes’ midseason injury last year. Douglas and Alexander began this season as Green Bay’s perimeter corners, with Keisean Nixon inside. The Bills have Taron Johnson entrenched in the slot, which stands to allow Douglas to see boundary reps soon.
Pro Football Focus slots Douglas 18th overall among corners this season; he has one interception and six pass breakups. The Bills are in a crucial year, as Von Miller is now 34 and Stefon Diggs turns 30 next month. They also have rental pass rusher Leonard Floyd (31) on a one-year deal. A 2017 Eagles third-round pick who contributed to the team’s Super Bowl LII-winning season as a rookie, Douglas will be in position to help a Bills defense that ranks 14th in DVOA. With games against the Bengals, Chiefs, Eagles, Cowboys and Dolphins still on the schedule, the Bills were probably wise to at least upgrade at one defensive spot. The team will still not be at full strength for those games, with Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones out indefinitely.